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EP032: Creating Bid-Winning Proposal Graphics – with Mike Parkinson of 24 Hour Company


What is the #1 mistake proposal writers make when it comes to incorporating graphics in RFPs? According to Mike Parkinson, we fall short in crafting a clear message BEFORE we start work on the visuals. So, what is the best approach to determining what you want to say first—and THEN tailoring an image to communicate that message? How do we create bid-winning proposal graphics that look professional AND deliver powerful content?

Mike is a sought-after visual communication and proposal expert and partner at 24 Hour Company, a top graphic design firm focused on serving business development professionals who bid on contract work. He has spearheaded multibillion-dollar projects and helped clients win billions of dollars in business through RFPs. Mike is also a bestselling author and professional trainer, and his Build-a-Graphic software empowers proposal writers to create professional graphics despite limited experience. He is a CPP APMP Fellow and one of only 34 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the world.

Today, Mike joins us to explain how he blends art with science to build bid-winning proposal graphics. He shares the value of visuals in an increasingly at-a-glance society and discusses why we owe it to reviewers to communicate our solution clearly and succinctly. Mike offers insight on using the psychology of motivation and decision-making to develop a message—and tailor the graphics accordingly. Listen in for Mike’s advice on marrying quality aesthetics with powerful content and learn how to create professional graphics, with or without prior experience!

Key Takeaways

  • How Mike blends art and science to build winning graphics

  • The value of visuals in an increasingly at-a-glance society

  • How to clearly communicate what differentiates your solution

  • Why Mike suggests opting for powerful content vs. aesthetics

  • How to develop a clear message and tailor your graphics to it

    • Benefit (speak to pain, gain or fear)


    • How (tap into trust, ego + VALUE)

  • The statistics on gut instinct in corporate decision-making

  • Mike’s advice on creating professional graphics

    1.      Custom graphic asset library

    2.      Leverage tool like Build-a-Graphic

    3.      Upskill current team with training